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Friday October 8, 2010 - 13:59:24 GMT
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Forex Market Commentary and Analysis (8 October 2010)

The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the single currency tested bids around the US$ 1.3840 level and was capped around the $1.3960 level.  The big news in the markets today involved a 95,000 decline in September non-farm payrolls while the September unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.6%. On a positive note, private payrolls were up another 75,000 following August growth of 93,000 and manufacturing job losses slowed.  Most of the job losses last month took place in the government sector.  Other  data released today saw September average hourly earnings up 0.0% m/m and 1.7% y/y and average hours worked remained steady at 34.2.  Today’s jobs data evidenced a slight burden shift from the private sector to the public sector and as the federal government’s and states’ fiscal balance sheets continue to erode, this trend may expand.  U.S. August wholesale inventories will be released later in the North American session.  St. Louis Fed President Bullard said the disinflation trend “has flattened out recently” but warned a jobless rate above 10% in 2011 is possible.  Bullard also said it will be a difficult call on whether or not to ease Fed policy further at the November Federal Open Market Committee meeting.   Traders yesterday pushed the common currency to its highest level since 28 January of this year before North American dealers pushed the pair sharply lower.  Options triggers were likely reached around the psychologically-important US$ 1.4000 figure.   Global officials are convening in Washington, D.C. this weekend and will discuss a litany of issues including exchange rates, monetary and fiscal policy, and the global economic recovery.  Many traders believe the Fed will begin another round of “quantitative easing” in early November, just after the U.S. mid-term election.  One form that additional easing could take is an expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet through the purchase of additional U.S. Treasuries.  Many economists believe that even if the Fed increases its purchases of U.S. Treasuries by hundreds of billions of dollars, there is unlikely to be a major impact on unemployent or economic growth.   In eurozone news, the European Central Bank yesterday voted to keep its main refinancing rate unchanged at 1.00% today and its next policy decision is expected on 4 November.  ECB President Trichet reported he is “anxious” to hear Fed Chairman Bernanke this weekend and said it is “important” that U.S. officials promote a strong U.S. dollar.  Trichet added he opposes “disorderly” movements in exchange rates.  Eurogroup chairman Juncker reported the euro “appears too strong today.”  ECB member Nowotny warned exchange rates were “excessively volatile” over the past six months. Concerning monetary policy, Trichet noted the ECB is progressively exiting its policy accommodation.  German data released today saw the August current account decline to +€4.6 billion while the August trade balance slowed to €9.0 billion.  Euro bids are cited around the US$ 1.3670 level. 

¥/ CNY

The yen appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested bids around the ¥82.15 level and was capped around the ¥82.55 level.  Finance minister Noda verbally intervened today saying “the intervention we conducted on 15 September was to rein in excessive movements.  It has a different character from one seeking a certain level with large scale, long-term intervention.”  Minutes from Bank of Japan’s Policy Board meeting on 30 August and 6-7 September were released in which policymakers said policy action was required as downside economic risks were increasing.  Some Policy Board officials said the yen’s impact on confidence had to be monitored.  BoJ Governor Shirakawa last night said the central bank’s decision to ease policy this week is having a “positive impact” on markets.  Traders continued to the resolve of Japanese monetary authorities this week by pushing the pair well below the levels where officials conducted yen-selling intervention on 15 September.  Chartists are eyeing the ¥81.10 level as the pair’s historical low from April 1995. Some traders are speculating the pair could fall to the ¥74 level in 2011.   Global officials are highly likely to discuss currency levels and misalignments when they convene in Washington, D.C. today and this weekend.  Japanese government bonds continue to move higher on this week’s additional monetary easing from Bank of Japan and expectations of additional credit expansion policies.  BoJ Governor Shirakawa this week referred to this week’s policy moves as “comprehensive monetary easing.” Data released in Japan overnight saw the August current account balance lessen to ¥1.11 trillion while the August trade balance lessened to ¥195.9 billion.  Also, the September economy watchers outlook printed at 41.2 at the current level and printed at 41.4 at the outlook level.  The Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.99% to close at ¥9,588.88.  U.S. dollar bids are cited around the ¥84.60 level.   The euro moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as the single currency tested bids around the ¥114.15 level and was capped around the ¥114.95 level.  The British pound moved lower vis-à-vis the yen as sterling tested bids around the ¥130.20 level while the Swiss franc moved lower vis-à-vis the yen and tested bids around the ¥85.00 figure. In Chinese news, the U.S. dollar depreciated vis-à-vis the Chinese yuan as the greenback closed at CNY 6.6712 in the over-the-counter market, down from CNY 6.6785.  Ahead of the G7 meetings this weekend, China’s yuan reference rate reached its strongest level since July 2005.  Chinese officials clearly want to evidence progress on allowing the yuan to appreciate ahead of this weekend’s meetings.  People’s Bank of Governor Zhou this week dismissed talk that European Union officials are pressuring China to weaken the yuan.   PBoC Vice Governor Yi Gang said China favours a “gradual” approach regarding the yuan’s appreciation, adding a faster one would cause “social upheaval.”

£

The British pound appreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as cable tested offers around the US$ 1.5930 level and was supported around the US$ 1.5825 level.  Data released in the U.K. today saw September producer price inflation input prices climb more than expected at +0.7% m/m and +9.5% y/y.  Also, September producer price inflation output was up 0.3% m/m and 4.4% y/y while core output 0.4% m/m and 4.6% y/y.  Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee yesterday announced that it was keeping its main Bank rate unchanged at 0.50% and its next decision will be announced on 4 November.  The MPC also announced it is maintaining its asset purchase plan unchanged at £200 billion.  There was significant speculation the BoE would expand its asset purchase plan yesterday and the minutes of today’s meeting will be closely scrutinized in a couple of weeks.  Some dealers believe the recent pullback in government spending in the U.K. will have a negative impact on the economy and confidence and result in additional pressure on BoE officials to expand policy.  Cable bids are cited around the US$ 1.5645 level.  The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the British pound as the single currency tested bids around the £0.8735 level and was capped around the £0.8805 level.

CHF

The Swiss franc depreciated vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar today as the greenback tested offers around the CHF 0.9695 level and was supported around the CHF 0.9645 level.  Data released in Switzerland today saw the September unemployment rate decline to 3.5% from the August reading of 3.6%, its lowest level in more than one year.  Swiss National Bank Chairman Hildebrand reported the central bank ended its currency market intervention as it became clear the risk of deflation was easing.  He also added it is “essential” for governments to reduce budget deficits while central banks must focus on price stability.   Hildebrand earlier this week critically reported the issue of “too-big-to-fail” banks “hasn’t been addressed by Basel III” and he indicated Swiss banks need to be held to a higher standard.  The pair has traded below parity since 21 September in the wake of widespread U.S. dollar weakness.  A Swiss government panel this week recommended that UBS and Credit Suisse hold total capital equal to at least 19% of their assets, far above the 10.5% proposed requirements under Basel III. U.S. dollar offers are cited around the CHF 0.9925 level.  The euro depreciated vis-à-vis the Swiss franc as the single currency tested bids around the CHF 1.3400 figure while the British pound moved higher vis-à-vis the Swiss franc and tested offers around the CHF 1.5370 level.

 

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